Planning a wedding can be a very large undertaking, and even the smallest of weddings can require some considerable advance planning. This is why many brides and grooms now go the way of a professional wedding planner to assist them in putting together all the details for their big day. In the past only the wealthy could afford to hire a wedding planner, but these days many people of every income level hire wedding planners, often because a wedding planner can help you save money and pay for themselves in their ability to negotiate better rates with vendors.
So what should you consider when you’re weighing the pros and cons of hiring a wedding planner as opposed to planning the whole show yourself? Here are a few questions you should consider before you make any decision or start shopping for a planner.
Do you have the time?
Big weddings with hundreds of guests can often take 250 hours or more to plan, and even small weddings can require 100 or more hours to put together all the details. If you’re an active person already and have a full-time job and a busy calendar, hiring a wedding planner might save you and your spouse-to-be lots of aggravation and hassle. Even if you hire a planner for day-of activities, this might take enough off your plate that you can stay sane in the months leading up to your big day.
Do you have the additional funds?
Hiring a wedding planner doesn’t necessarily have to cost a mint, and in many cases a planner may save you money because they know how to find and negotiate the best deals. Wedding planners charge for their services in a few ways. Some charge by the percentage of the cost of the wedding, which can fall anywhere from 10% to 20% of your total budget. Some charge by flat fee and offer a fixed number of services and time they will spend on your wedding (with any overtime charged above and beyond). Still others charge by the hour (and expect to pay north of $50/hour for most planners). If you decided you can afford a wedding planner, make sure you get all the costs and what they include in writing before you forge ahead.
Are you a do-it-yourself type of person?
Do you do things like make your own soap or stitch your own clothes? Do you get your kicks by creating things from scratch? Do you spend hours at craft stores sifting through piles of felt and bins of buttons? When it comes down to it, would you rather make something than buy something?
If you answered yes to at least one of the questions above, then you like to do at least some things on your own. For many brides, creating the favors, invitations, save-the-dates, centerpieces and dozens of other wedding-related items is truly a dream and what they would enjoy most about their wedding (aside from getting hitched to their one-and-only). So if you’re the crafter or independent sort who relishes doing things yourself, then hiring a wedding planner may not fit your style. Instead, you can use a planning binder or online wedding software to help you manage all your details. If you are a DIY-type person and decide to go ahead and hire a planner, just make sure you have a clearly defined division of labor so you don’t step on each other’s toes.
Do you like details?
Some people are detail freaks and love managing all the little things in life. Others can’t be bothered with pesky little tasks and details and would prefer the big picture perspective. How do you know which you are? Well, if you must balance your checkbook, empty the dishwasher, lay out tomorrow’s outfit, answer all your emails and before you can to to sleep at night, then you’re a details person and would probably not only feel at home planning your own wedding but planning weddings for a living. If you can sleep like a baby and it doesn’t even occur to you to think of these things, then you’re probably not a details person and may want to find someone else to help you plan your wedding. This isn’t saying that a details person shouldn’t consider hiring a planner or that a non-details person couldn’t do it themselves; just remember that if you choose a path outside of your comfort zone, you may find yourself second-guessing yourself at one point or another.
Do you like negotiating and haggling for deals?
Think of buying wedding services and items like shopping for a car. In many cases, the service or product in question doesn’t really have a fixed cost and is definitely negotiable (even if it doesn’t seem like it). So you should ask yourself this: do I like haggling and negotiating, or would I rather leave this to somebody else? If you enjoy or even relish the back-and-forth, dodge-and-parry of haggling over a price and negotiating terms and services, then you may revel in doing it for your own wedding. If you’d equate haggling with visits to the dentist or doing your taxes or picking up friends at the airport, then you might want to hire a wedding planner to do it for you. A key advantage in the latter is that wedding planners are accustomed to haggling with wedding vendors, know what things should cost and can tell you if you’re getting a good deal or not.
Do you like planning parties?
This is really the deciding question, because although a wedding in many cases has a religious component to it, in the end what you are really planning is a party. Some people love planning parties and everything that it entails, including developing guest lists, creating invitations, planning food offerings and entrees, scouting out/arranging for venues, coming up with head counts, serving as greeter/host/girl Friday and the like. If you love parties and everything that they entail, then planning a wedding is right up your alley. But if you much prefer attending parties but dread planning them, then a wedding planner may be in your future.
For information on a wedding planner in Virginia click here.